Media are saying GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump's victory in the New Hampshire primary is a result of his “appeal to large masses of Republican voters,” noting that, despite the GOP vowing “just four years ago to be more inclusive,” Trump's victory shows “how far the Party of Reagan has drifted from its moorings.”
Donald Trump Wins New Hampshire Primary By Double Digits
Trump “Tapped Into A Deep Well Of Anxiety” In The GOP To Win The Nation's First Primary. Donald Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary with 35 percent of the vote, more than double the second place finisher, by tapping “into a deep well of anxiety among Republicans and independents” and running “strongest among voters who were worried about illegal immigrants, incipient economic turmoil and the threat of a terrorist attack,” according to The New York Times. [The New York Times, 2/9/16]
In His Victory Speech, Trump Echoed Several Prominent Republican Policy Positions. According to The Washington Post, during his victory speech, Donald Trump doubled down on several policy positions embraced by the Republican party, including “build[ing] a wall” at the U.S.-Mexico border, “repealing and replacing Obamacare,” and “getting rid of Common Core.” Trump also parroted baseless right-wing media claims that the unemployment rate might be as high as “42 percent” (the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 4.9 percent) and that the Obama administration is “chipping away at our Second Amendment.” [The Washington Post, 2/9/16]
Media Say Trump's NH Primary Win Underscores How Far The GOP “Has Drifted From Its Moorings”
The Boston Globe: Trump's Primary Victory Is A “Grievous Confirmation Of How Far The Party Of Reagan Has Drifted From Its Moorings.” Boston Globe conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote on February 10 that Trump's victory reveals that Republican voters have “blown up” and “stained” the tradition of voting for a candidate with “a high standard of civility,” noting that Trump's victory shows “how far the Party of Reagan has drifted from its moorings”:
New Hampshire primary voters have long taken pride in subjecting presidential wannabes to a long and thoroughgoing scrutiny -- vetting the candidates on their political stands, grilling them at innumerable town hall meetings, assessing their demeanor on the campaign trail. White House hopefuls held themselves to a high standard of civility, or they didn't win the first-in-the-nation primary.
By handing a victory to Donald Trump in this year's primary, New Hampshire's voters may have just blown up that long-nurtured credibility.
This time around, the winner of New Hampshire's GOP primary is a vulgar egomaniac, as ignorant of public affairs as he is gifted at stoking anger and xenophobia.
Trump led every poll of New Hampshire Republican voters since last summer, so his first-place finish on Tuesday came as no surprise. But it was a grievous confirmation of how far the Party of Reagan has drifted from its moorings.
New Hampshire voters have just given their imprimatur to a demagogue far removed from everything thoughtful and honorable in the Republican Party's traditions.
After losing the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz, Trump could have moderated his ugly campaign style. Instead he doubled down, using lewd language at campaign rallies, embracing the torture of terror suspects, and whining that Iowa's results were fraudulent. New Hampshire's voters have just rewarded those grotesqueries, bestowing on Trump his first official win of the presidential season. In so doing they have stained, perhaps permanently, their reputation for discernment. [The Boston Globe, 2/10/16]
The New Republic: “It's No Surprise” Trump Won Because His “Issue Positions ... Appeal To Large Masses Of Republican Voters.” The New Republic's senior editor Brian Beutler wrote on February 9 that the GOP underestimated Trump because the establishment misunderstood his “political persona,” which combined “issue positions and affects that appeal to large masses of Republican voters” (emphasis added):
About halfway through the five stages of Republican despair over the state of the presidential primary--after Donald Trump shot to the top of the polls, but before most people came to terms with the durability of his support--the commentariat (both conservative and liberal) took solace in the assumption that Trump couldn't withstand even a single loss.
Trump's brand, according to this conventional wisdom, was so synonymous with winning--always winning--that losing would reveal his political persona to be a facade, and his support would melt away.
This analysis reflected at least two significant and related misunderstandings. First, Trump's setbacks in the business world were well known, decidedly not fatal, and should've called into doubt the view that losing is Kryptonite to Trump. But it was also based on an outright misreading of Trump's political persona, which combined issue positions and affects that appeal to large masses of Republican voters, with a promise that overall, and in the long run, Trump wins.
[E]verything that's happened since last Monday has served as a reminder that the Republican establishment is hanging its fortunes on extremely thin reeds. [The New Republic, 2/9/16]
Salon: “Trump Is Doing So Well With Republican Voters” Because “He Just Heaves Bullshit With A Bigger Shovel” Than Other Candidates. Following Trump's primary victory, a February 9 Salon article by Amanda Marcotte noted that what Trump is saying “is no different” from “boilerplate Republican nonsense” and that he “is doing so well with Republican voters” because “he's not, despite mainstream media narratives suggesting otherwise, all that different from other Republicans” (emphasis original):
A lot of corners of the media are still reeling from the shock that a clown like Trump can win anything, much less a prominent Republican primary.
But the remarkable thing about Trump's speech is it's not actually that different from boilerplate Republican nonsense: Claiming that foreign policy is mostly about belligerence, demanding an end to Obamacare, accusing Democrats of wanting to give away free stuff, pandering to gun nuts, dark suggestions that Obama is lying about the economic turnaround, taking a swipe at Common Core, and implying that foreigners are sneaking over the Mexican border to kill us all with terrorism and heroin.
The main difference is that Trump is just more, well let's say, boisterous about it.
If you want to know why Trump is doing so well with Republican voters, this is the answer. He's not, despite mainstream media narratives suggesting otherwise, all that different from other Republicans. He just heaves bullshit with a bigger shovel. [Salon, 2/9/16]
Vox: Trump's Victory Reveals His “Unerring Instinct For Harnessing Anger, Resentment, And Fear” Of Republican Voters. Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein lamented on February 10 that Trump “is in serious contention to win the Republican presidential nomination,” decrying how he is “showing off the demagogue's instinct for amplifying the angriest voice in the mob” following his rise “to prominence in the Republican Party as a leader of the birther movement.” Klein noted that Trump's rivals “are checked by institutions and incentives that hold no sway over Trump,” who “operates entirely without shame”:
On Monday, Donald Trump held a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he merrily repeated a woman in the crowd who called Ted Cruz a pussy. Twenty-four hours later Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary in a landslide.
I'm not here to clutch my pearls over Trump's vulgarity; what was telling, rather, was the immaturity of the moment, the glee Trump took in his “she-said-it-I-didn't” game. The media, which has grown used to covering Trump as a sideshow, delighted in the moment along with him -- it was funny, and it meant clicks, takes, traffic. But it was more than that. It was the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president showing off the demagogue's instinct for amplifying the angriest voice in the mob.
Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he's a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he's also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it's hard to know if he even realizes he's lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.
Trump is in serious contention to win the Republican presidential nomination. His triumph in a general election is unlikely but it is far from impossible. He's not a joke and he's not a clown. He's a man who could soon be making decisions of war and peace, who would decide which regulations are enforced and which are lifted, who would be responsible for nominating Supreme Court Justices and representing America in the community of nations. This is not political entertainment. This is politics. [Vox, 2/10/16]
Huffington Post: NH Republicans' “Choice For President” Is “A Stunning Turn Of Events For A Party That Vowed ... To Be More Inclusive.” The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim and Igor Bobic wrote on February 9 that Trump -- “a racist, sexist demagogue” -- has forced the Republican party “to lurch desperately rightward” and that his “real legacy ... may ultimately be the damage he does to the Republican brand.” They further wrote that Trump's “resounding victory ... is a stunning turn of events for a party that vowed just four years ago to be more inclusive to minorities”:
New Hampshire Republican primary voters on Tuesday made official their choice for president of the United States: real estate mogul and reality television star Donald J. Trump.
The businessman's resounding victory amid a crowded field of more experienced and accomplished candidates is a stunning turn of events for a party that vowed just four years ago to be more inclusive to minorities after failing to unseat President Barack Obama in the bitter 2012 election. What the GOP got instead is a xenophobic demagogue who's insulted pretty much everyone and even earned the endorsement of white supremacists. Trump's victory in New Hampshire likely points to a drawn-out slog between Trump and at least one of his rivals as they battle to secure enough delegates in hopes of winning their party's nomination this summer.
Perhaps his most profound impact on the 2016 presidential race, however, has been to force more moderate, commonsense Republicans to lurch desperately rightward on issues like immigration. Long gone is Rubio's support for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform, for example, and even Kasich, the governor of a diverse state, now supports building a wall on the country's southern border. Some candidates have even echoed Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric, opposing the resettling of Syrian refugees on U.S. soil.
Trump's real legacy, whether or not he wins the nomination, may ultimately be the damage he does to the Republican brand during the general election and in the many down-ballot races for Congress come November. Despite winning the favor of the primary crowd, Trump remains deeply unpopular with general election voters. [Huffington Post, 2/9/16]
USA Today Editorial Board: Trump Won Because Republicans Are “Looking At The Race As Entertainment, Or As A Vehicle For Their Anger.” On February 9, the USA Today editorial board slammed Republicans for “looking at the race as entertainment, or as a vehicle for their anger, or as a way to send the establishment an ill-defined message,” imploring them to reject Trump's “temperament” and instead “start seeing [the race as] a prime opportunity to win back the White House”:
So far, the race for the Republican presidential nomination has been the best reality show going.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a far-right candidate who fires up true believers, won in Iowa. Real estate tycoon Donald Trump, meanwhile, won Tuesday's first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, fueled by Republicans who feel betrayed by the GOP establishment and are looking for an outsider.
Neither looks like a particularly strong candidate in November's general election. Cruz polls poorly outside of the conservative base and is widely disliked by his peers in Washington. And almost every time Trump opens his mouth, he raises questions as to whether he has the temperament to be president; just in the past few days, he endorsed torture as an instrument of U.S. policy and repeated a vulgarism to describe what he saw as Cruz's insufficient commitment to waterboarding.
Perhaps it is time for Republicans to stop looking at the race as entertainment, or as a vehicle for their anger, or as a way to send the establishment an ill-defined message, and start seeing it for what it is: a prime opportunity to win back the White House after two long terms on the outside. [USA Today, 2/9/16]